By Emily Feimster
It wasn't that long ago when Katherine Heigl
was turning heads on the sci-fi show, "Roswell," but TV's hottest blond has truly been on the rise since starring as Isobel "Izzie" Stevens on ABC's hit show "Grey's Anatomy." The newfound fame comes as a relief for the 27 year old, who started her career as a child model when she was nine.
She notes that everyone in the "Grey's" cast has been around long enough to know what it's like to their all into a show, a film, or a stage production and be met by a lack of interest. But now, "To work hard on something and be so passionate about it and have an audience is such a wonderful feeling. It makes it so much easier to come to work everyday."
As it turns out, the people at home aren't the only fans of the show. "I'm obsessed with it myself, which is really weird because I'm on it. I never used to be into the stuff I did. It's too hard to watch it objectively. This one I get really excited about because there are so many characters and there is so much going on. I'm not in everything so I don't know exactly how everything is going to pan out. I get all like, 'Oh, my God! What's going to happen with George and Meredith?'"
It's this kind of reaction to the material that's given Heigl a new appreciation for the work that goes into creating each episode. "I'm really fascinated about the writing process. It's something that I thought I might like to try a couple of years ago and then I realized how much work it takes so I decided against it," she tells us. "I'm really impressed by how they turn a script out every eight days with the quality that they do it with."
However, Heigl does admit that she wasn't sure if the writing could live up to its early success. "At first I was a little bit more nervous because you think, 'Can we withstand this? Can we keep up the great writing and acting?' But as this year has gone on and Shonda [creator Shonda Rhimes] and all the writers have turned out wonderful script after script, that stress started to ease."
In fact, the writers have been so precise with creating Heigl's character that she has found herself becoming quite protective. "I'm very defensive of her. I don't read the fan forums because I've had a couple of incidents of hearing things you don't want to hear. Mostly people really love her and I'm grateful for that because I really love her." So what exactly is Heigl so drawn to? "What I like best about her is that she's unwaveringly optimistic. I love that of all the doctors, she's the least likely surgeon because not only does she come from a modeling background and a trailer park, but she also gets so emotionally attached to her patients."
Apparently Heigl also has an attraction towards the name Isabel considering she's played three characters with that name. "I know!" she laughs, when the subject comes up. "I don't know how that happened. It's been three times now," she says with a laugh. "Not only am I playing Isobel Stevens now, but I played Isabel Evans on 'Roswell' for three years. It's really bizarre."
No matter what the name, though, Heigl is just grateful for the opportunities that the show is providing her. "It's changed my career in a sense that I don't have to fight as hard to be seen for other projects. I've even started to try to produce a little bit and get the rights to some books that I'm reading. I hope in the next year or two that these pieces fall into place and I can start a production company with my mother. We've been working together since I was little," she notes of her mother, Nancy, who also serves as her manager. "The show is making these things easier, which is a huge blessing, because I've been around since I was little, waiting for my career to take this turn."
With this kind of boost in her career, there's no doubt that Heigl will strike while the iron's hot, but she does say that one of her biggest priorities will be maintaining her life outside of "Grey's Anatomy." "The thing I've focused on the most in the last year is my personal life. On top of this show, I want to have a real life as well and have a family and be with my family and have a life outside of work. After all, you can only spend so much time working."